Today, we’re sharing a glimpse of what it was like in mid-March at the bird exhibits in the Kyiv Zoo. Workers at the zoo stayed to take care of the animals during the Russian invasion. They worked long days, doing what it took to keep a zoo running: cleaning stalls and preparing food. They returned to bomb shelters to sleep at night. Julia Vakulenko of the Kyiv Zoo shared recordings of her coworkers caring for the zoo’s birds.
Audio Postcard from the Kyiv Zoo
Written by Marina Henke
This is BirdNote.
Today, we’re sharing a glimpse of what it was like in mid-March at the bird exhibits in the Kyiv Zoo. There were no visitors here, no guests. But it wouldn’t be correct to say this place was empty, because it remained full of life.
Three inky-black geese with red beaks. A toucan with a golden head and a white tail. Bright green and blue parakeets. And twenty milky-pink flamingos.
Julia Vakulenko works at the Kyiv Zoo. She shared these recordings made by her coworkers just weeks after Putin invaded Ukraine. Millions of Ukrainians were displaced or fled the country. Meanwhile in Kyiv, a team of zookeepers stayed put. They worked long days, doing what it took to keep a zoo running: cleaning stalls, preparing food. They returned to bomb shelters to sleep at night.
Taking care of the birds can be a repetitive task. Here, a zookeeper opens up a bag of seed. He pours it out and walks into the flamingo enclosure.
He feeds it to them.
Their excitement is contagious.
In the middle of an invasion, somebody is still taking care of the birds.
For BirdNote, I’m Marina Henke.
Senior Producer: John Kessler
Content Director: Allison Wilson
Producer: Mark Bramhill
Managing Producer: Conor Gearin
Field recordings provided by Julia Vakulenko/Kyiv Zoo
Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York.
BirdNote’s theme was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
© 2022 BirdNote April 2022/June 2022 Narrator: Marina Henke